Updated: March 20, 2014 10:04AM
PHILADELPHIA — The struggling 76ers were supposed to be the type of team the Bulls could simply step over on their way to catching the team charter to Indianapolis for a Friday night showdown against the rival Pacers.
The 76ers entered Wednesday losers of 21 consecutive games.
Their front office seems to be doing everything possible to make sure the team has the most Ping-Pong balls for the draft lottery.
But with just under eight minutes left, the Bulls and 76ers were tied, an expected laugher had turned into a street fight.
Thanks to guard D.J. Augustin and forward Taj Gibson scoring 10 points each in the fourth quarter, the Bulls escaped with a 102-94 victory.
“We knew it would be this type of game,’’ Augustin said.
“The last few games they played were close, so we knew it would be this type of game. It was a fight, a real fight.’’
One that the Bulls (38-30) needed to win as they hold on to the fourth seed and homecourt advantage for a first-round playoff series.
“You’ve got to give [the 76ers] credit,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said.
“You’re not going to knock them out. You’ve got to be ready to play the whole game. You’ve got to be ready to fight.’’
Or just give them a whole lot of Augustin and Gibson to deal with.
Augustin made two huge three-pointers in the fourth, but Gibson controlled the glass with eight rebounds in the quarter.
“We needed Taj,’’ swingman Jimmy Butler said. “But we needed everybody. Don’t let the losing streak fool you, this was a good team.’’